How Work from Home has Changed Homebuyer Needs

February 16, 2024

Tim Clarke

Guide for work-from-home homebuyers on key purchase factors like space, lighting, noise, Internet, layout and more when shopping for the ideal home.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a major increase in remote work. With more people working from home long-term, the priorities and needs of homebuyers have changed significantly.

Looking in More Geographic Areas

No Longer Tied to a Commute

  • Without having to commute to an office daily, homebuyers have much more flexibility in locations farther from urban job centers.
  • Pre-pandemic, many professionals limited searches to a 30-minute commute of their workplace. Now that boundary has expanded dramatically.

Can Live in Lower Cost Areas

  • Some buyers may find it beneficial to move to regions where the cost of living is much lower than the area their employer is located.
  • Remote work enables relocation to more affordable suburbs, smaller towns, rural areas, or wherever suits their lifestyle needs.

Dedicated Office Space

Privacy and Organization

  • A properly designed home office provides privacy, quiet, and an organized work environment - critical when working remotely.
  • Most homebuyers now want a separate office room with a door, proper lighting, storage solutions, and customization.

Converting Existing Spaces

  • Many homebuyers are seeking extra bedrooms, large basements, or sunrooms to convert into a fully-equipped home office space.
  • The typical 3 bedroom home now needs an additional office or bonus workspace that can be isolated from other living areas.

Flexible, Multipurpose Layouts

Accommodating Diverse Activities

  • Open floor plans are in high demand, allowing multipurpose spaces for remote work, family gatherings, hobbies, and more.
  • Homebuyers want rooms capable of serving as both a home office and family room, workout studio, etc.

Blending Work and Life

  • With remote work blending professional and personal life, spaces that adapt to varied functions are important.
  • Buyers need areas that can transition from kid play area, to schoolwork space, to parent workspace seamlessly.

Outdoor Living Spaces

Outdoor Workspaces

  • Patios, balconies, courtyards, and backyards allow remote workers to enjoy a change of environment.
  • These outdoor areas can become functional workspaces, allowing flexibility in the workday.

Family Recreation

  • Outdoor spaces also provide areas for family recreation, gatherings, and hobbies without being cooped up indoors.

Accommodations for Family Life

Kids' Learning and Play

  • For parents with school-age children, having space for kids to focus on remote learning without distractions is essential.
  • Dedicated areas for children's schoolwork, play, and hobbies allow parents to maintain their own workspace and productivity.

Spouse's Needs

  • In a multi-adult home, a second office area may be needed to accommodate each person's remote work needs.

Long-Term Mindset

Adaptable for the Future

  • Pandemic conditions have made remote work standard for many professions, beyond COVID-19.
  • Homebuyers make decisions thinking 5-10 years out about their needs instead of just 1-2 years.

Growing Families

  • Focus is on homes that can adapt as families grow and needs change over the years.

Reliable High-Speed Internet

Critical Utility for Remote Workers

  • Fast, reliable internet with sufficient bandwidth is a top priority for remote workers.
  • This has become one of the most important factors for homebuyers in their purchase decision process.

Future-Proofing Connectivity

  • Many homebuyers want homes wired with ethernet or other features to accommodate maximum internet capabilities now and in the future.

In summary, remote work has fundamentally reshaped homebuyer expectations and needs. Their focus is on spaces and amenities tailored for flexible, long-term remote work and full-time family living.

Wider At-Home Lifestyle Requirements

If the buyer is married with kids, there must be a consideration of the lifestyle needs of the family while working from home.

There would need to be an additional workspace area for the spouse and/or the children.

Because they're working and living in the same space, the family may also desire additional amenities or features that make their homes more comfortable for relaxing, such as game rooms, swimming pools, exercise areas, or outdoor living spaces.

Long-Term Living for Generational Families

There is no secret that we have a steadily declining inventory and the biggest reason why because homeowners are looking at the purchase of a home more long-term.

Since they are now required to work from home, they can move to any area they would prefer and won't have to worry about relocating if their company undergoes changes or if there is a change in role.

Buyers may be encouraged to search in a higher price point because of the additional amenities they desire and because of the ability to save from the gas spent commuting.

Strong Internet Connectivity

Strong internet connectivity is a top priority for remote workers, freelancers, and entrepreneurs.

Due to the remote nature of work in recent years, a reliable and fast internet connection is far more critical than it used to be.

This has become one of the most important factors for homebuyers in their purchasing decisions.

Conclusion

As a veteran real estate agent here in the Triangle area of North Carolina, I've helped many families find homes for over 17 years, through all types of changing markets.

The rise of remote work has clearly transformed homebuyer priorities and needs. My expertise allows me to guide clients to maximize their buying experience in this new landscape.

I recommend homebuyers partner with a knowledgeable local real estate professional to help navigate this evolving market.

An expert agent understands the latest trends and can help you find a home tailored to your specific work-from-home needs.

They will also ensure the buying process goes smoothly from start to finish.

Additionally, I suggest being patient and keeping an open mind when searching for a home now.

While virtual tours help, visit homes in-person whenever possible to get a true sense of the space and neighborhood.

Also, get pre-approved for financing so you can act quickly when the right home comes along.

The pandemic has shifted how we live and work. But with an experienced real estate advisor on your side, you can still find your perfect home for today's remote lifestyle.

My team is here to listen and provide trusted guidance every step of the way.

FAQ's

Remote Work's Impact on Priorities

How has remote work changed homebuyer priorities?

Remote work has led homebuyers to prioritize home offices, flexible spaces, outdoor areas, and amenities for family life over proximity to an office.

Locations Gaining Appeal

What locations are remote workers interested in?

Remote workers have more flexibility in location, leading them to consider suburbs, smaller towns, lower cost of living areas, and places aligned with their lifestyle.

Importance of Home Offices

Why do home offices matter to remote workers?

Dedicated home office spaces provide privacy, organization, and productivity that makes remote work successful long-term.

Layout and Flexibility Needs

What types of layouts do remote workers want?

Open floor plans and rooms with multiple functions, like office-family rooms, are popular to accommodate remote work and family life.

Utilizing Outdoor Spaces

How are outdoor spaces used by remote workers?

Outdoor areas like patios can become functional workspaces and provide space for family activities and hobbies.

Helpful At-Home Amenities

What amenities help facilitate at-home living?

Upgraded amenities like pools, yards, game rooms, and smart home tech bring more convenience and enjoyment to time spent at home.

Impacts on the Housing Market

How has remote work impacted the housing market?

Increased remote work has contributed to rising home prices and demand as buyers relocate and invest in homes suited for telecommuting.

Benefits for First-Time Buyers

How has remote work benefited first-time homebuyers?

Remote work gives first-time buyers more flexibility to search in a wider range of locations and find affordable homes with more desired features.

Accommodating Family Needs

How are families impacted by parents working remotely?

Families need spaces for kids' remote learning and activities so parents can maintain their own workspaces at home.

Connectivity Needs

What connectivity do remote workers need?

Fast, reliable internet is a top priority for homebuyers, especially those working remotely full-time who rely heavily on web access.

Tim M. Clarke

About the author

17 years as a Realtor in the Research Triangle, Tim seeks to transform the Raleigh-Durham real estate scene through a progressive, people-centered approach prioritizing trust & transparency.

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